Two non-profits that have been trying to turn the hulking brick husk of an old trolley substation in Roslindale Square into something useable say they now want to buy the funeral home next door for housing.
In an e-mail update this morning, Steve Gag and Stephanie Cave of Roslindale Village Main Street say the FJ Higgins Funeral Home on Washington Street is now up for sale - and that the Higgins family has agreed to give the group and Historic Boston first dibs on the property as the family prepares to move the funeral home to a new location.
Gag and Cave say they don't want to let the property fall into the hands of a developer who would use it for something un-Roslindale-Square-like - such as a fast-food drive-thru:
If put up for sale on the open real estate market, the site of the funeral home could very likely attract the interest of a developer who does not share our vision of creating a walkable, pedestrian-friendly business district, someone who might try to install a drive-thru business on Washington Street, or a parking lot for some other business. Because of the community's vocal reaction to the Domino's Pizza that was proposed on the same block, we feel duty-bound to try to bring about an outcome that will add more value to our business district.
Instead, the groups would seek to buy the parcel and turn it into a 40-unit residential building - with a 40-space underground garage. The building's height would be "slightly lower" than the substation's, they write, adding that six of the residential units would be designated as "affordable."
The two also signaled a subtle change in plans for the substation itself. The original idea was to build a function facility with room for a winter farmers' market. Now, they say the two groups are looking at building out "7,500 square feet of retail space, including a restaurant and coffee bar and a market for fresh produce."
They added they're working on a public meeting for January to detail the proposals.